September 17, 2015
My day was off to a good start but ground to a halt quickly upon the arrival of my advance copy of John Besh's new cookbook, Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes. At first glance, it's true to its title; most recipes are short and utilize ingredients readily available at a well-stocked supermarket. Instructions are clear and concise, and many pages include a bit of trivia, an anecdote, or a tip, such as the Secrets of Roux you'll find under the Tip of the Week in the right-hand column of this newsletter. This book will be welcomed by the novice cook, the person just dipping their toes into the flavors of Louisiana, and anyone else who enjoys a good home-cooked meal. It ships September 29. Envy me.
Yesterday, Southeastern grocery chain Winn Dixie kicked off Cooking with Curtis, a program aimed at making the answer to "What's for dinner?" a little easier, and a bit more affordable. Each month, Food Network celebrity chef Curtis Stone will create meals featuring a product that is fresh and in season; the recipes will be easy, and the total cost will be under $10 for a family of four. Who doesn't want affordable, fresh, from-scratch home-cooked meals? Sister grocery stores Bi-Lo and Harvey's Supermarkets will also be participating in the program.
My friend Gaye Hamilton took the photo of me above after we'd finished judging Soirée Royale in Opelousas earlier this week. I learned the hard way a long time ago to taste and set aside; I should have warned her, but she was enjoying those first ten or so judge-portions so much I didn't have the heart to tell her to not clean each plate. She was miserably full by the last round, but happily so. Congratulations to Chef Amanda Johnson of Coushatta Casino Resort for Best of Show with her Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake, and to Chef Tonia Dupree of White Tails Bar & Grill for People's Choice with her Seafood Stuffed Shells topped with Creole Mozarella Sauce.
See our list of what's happening around Louisiana below and find something to do this weekend, even if it's just staying cool. Whatever you decide, enjoy the recipes this week, share them with family and friends, and, as always,let me know what's on your mind.
Susan Ford, Publisher
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Sept/Oct in the Mail:
Mama's Seafood Gumbo
From Chef John Besh's new cookbook, Besh Big Easy, this is his version of the seafood gumbo he grew up eating out of his mother's and grandmother's kitchens. One of his tricks for getting great seafood flavor is to quarter 6 crabs and simmer them for a full 45 minutes in the gumbo before adding the sausage and remaining seafood.
Fried Green Tomato BLT
Featured this month in the Cooking with Curtis program, this is a twist on the classic BLT. The "T" portion is green and fried, and the mayo is dressed up with roasted red peppers, dill pickles, and a few other fun ingredients. Ready in a few minutes, for under $10 for a family of four.
Fresh Basil Pesto
This is a versatile recipe- toss a bit with hot cooked pasta, spread it on a sandwich in place of mayo, make bruschetta, cut a slit in a chicken breast and add a spoonful along with a piece of Asiago cheese. It's also great on fish. Even better, get some of those little 4-ounce Ball jars, fill with pesto and top with olive oil, and freeze. You'll have a taste of summer in the depths of winter.
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Sep 18, 2015 to Sep 19, 2015
Greenwood: Greenwood Pioneer Festival
Marthaville: Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival
Natchitoches: Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival
Springhill: Springhill Lumberjack Festival
St. Martinville: Pepper Festival
Sep 18, 2015 to Sep 20, 2015
Oberlin: Allen Parish Fair
Sulphur: St. Theresa's Bon Ton Festival
Sep 19, 2015
Alexandria: Le Tour de Bayou
Breaux Bridge: Jambalaya Cookoff
Grand Coteau: Exit 11 Yard Sale
Houma: Autism Information Expo
Leesville: Leesville Cruise In
New Iberia: Cajun French Music Festival
Shreveport: Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Sep 19, 2015 to Sep 20, 2015
Sep 23, 2015 to Sep 26, 2015
Sep 23, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015
New Iberia: Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival
Sep 24, 2015
Alexandria: Les Fest Jammin' In The Jungle
Sep 24, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015
Gonzales: Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship
Luling: Alligator Festival
Sep 24, 2015 to Oct 4, 2015
Monroe: ARK-LA-MISS Fair
Sep 25, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015
Belle Chasse: Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Fair
Cut Off: COYC Hurricane Festival
Sep 25, 2015 to Sep 26, 2015
Bogalusa: Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival
Dubach: Louisiana Chicken Festival
New Iberia: SugaFest 4-H Livestock Show
Ponchatoula: Southeast Louisiana Guitar Show
Vidalia: Jim Bowie Festival & BBQ Throwdown
Sep 25, 2015
Covington: Wings and Wine
Sep 26, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015
Houma: Best of the Bayou Festival
Sep 26, 2015
Minden: Germantown Bluegrass Festival
Pineville: Louisiana Liar's Contest
St. Francisville: Louisiana Vets Festival
Sep 27, 2015
Baton Rouge: Festival Latino
Lake Charles: Calca-Chew Food Festival
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